The real message from the provincial election … like it or not … is that NDP in BC is a spent provincial political force, with a Best-Before date that has expired.
The massive defeat of the party at the hands of such an inept, disliked, scandal-plagued, ethically-challenged and, frankly, fiscally mismanaged Liberal government shows that BC voters just don’t want the NDP as the alternative.
The party’s old guard will blame everyone else: the pollsters, the media, the strategists, the campaign etc.
But the TRUTH is the public just didn’t buy into the NDP philosophy and policies that oppose almost every resource project now on the table … and even some not yet on the table. The public said “NO” to the NDP party’s “No”, “No”, “No” stance on so many job and royalty-rich possibilities.
BC has changed over the past 20 years: a new generation of voters … educated, high-tech savvy and more upwardly mobile free-enterprisers … are now in control, and growing in numbers and voting power every year.
But the NDP has not.
The province’s aging socialists, unionists, social reform activists and environmental militants are out of touch with BC reality and are dying off both politically and literally …. being surpassed by the growth of, frankly, self-centered, free enterprisers and younger families motivated by jobs, money and personal economic security …not the wider issues of social justice, First Nations settlements and community solidarity to help the poor, seniors etc.
It sounds terrible, I know, and runs against many of my own sympathies …but let’s keep it real.
BC has not only changed in terms of age, urbanization, employment and non-union demography, but attitudinally, motivationally and politically.
And ethnically and culturally as well.
Judging by the election results BC’s now-huge Asian community is now a major political force in the province … and are quite apparently heavily fiscal free-enterprisers and social conservatives, rather than being sympathetic to even mildly “socialist” policies. Remember the word “socialist” represents, to many, societies that they, or their parents and grandparents, fled.
In fact, a friend of mine, who was born in China and is quite up-to-speed with issues and attitudes in BC’s Chinese community, believes he knows WHY all those political polls were so wrong: they FAILED to adequately capture and reflect the voting intentions of large numbers of Asian (especially Chinese) voters.
Why? Chinese are culturally very private people … most of them business-orientated free enterprisers who don’t respond to polls …especially phone calls at home asking political questions.
But they vote … and in urban areas may have turned out to be the Liberals’ secret weapon (despite ethnogate).
So what happens now?
Many British Columbians held their noses and voted Liberal. They WANTED an alternative, but not the NDP. And certainly not the Greens or the Conservatives.
What BC needs now is a free-enterprise but socially-liberal alternative to the BC Liberal Party.
The Conservatives, with their fiscally right-wing economic policies and conservative social attitudes don’t appeal to most; and the Greens are too far out left for too many.
The NDP is no doubt held too much in a stranglehold by its left-wing ideologues to become a seriously free-enterprise party … SUPPORTING resource development projects, Site C dam, mining and certainly not pipelines (even with state-of-the-art environmental protection).
Even though the voters have shown they WANT those jobs, those revenues, those projects to help secure BC’s economic future.
In fact, the NDP may even go the other way … trying to coalesce with the Greens. That, on paper, may look good: combining NDP and Green votes could have resulted in a far different election result.
But politics doesn’t work that way …. an NDP/Green coalition or unification would push away MANY of those who did vote NDP this time, but who regard the Greens as far too left …even wacky.
BC is ready for a new free-enterprise party … one that offers an alternative to the Liberals, without going further to the right.